Without knowing Kera’s personal story, I unknowingly assumed she was born an athlete. She exudes so much confidence in her work-outs and is always doing something innovative in her routine. When I approached Kera about highlighting her story for this series, I quickly found out that that there was much more to this woman than the rock-solid work-out queen we all witness in Club W. I am so fortunate that Kera has shared her story with us, and I hope that each of you are just as inspired and moved by her journey as I have been.
Kera, an Asheville native, is the mother of three boys: Kelsey, Thadeus, and Julien and has been married to her husband Matthew for 17 ½ years. The importance of family is evident in any conversation with Kera. Yet as we all know, stay-at-home moms rarely get a break, and when they do, they are often doing something for someone else. In order to maintain her sanity, Kera’s idea of unwinding is a trip to the YWCA, where she utilizes our drop-in day care. (Members of Club W receive up to 2 hours of supervised childcare while they utilize our facility.) Knowing that her children are in great hands gives Kera the opportunity to focus on her workout.
I was surprised to learn that Kera is not a natural born athlete like I had assumed. Growing up, she admits she had no athletic skills with the exception of lifeguarding in high school. After her middle son was born she realized that she was 60 pounds heavier. Mentally, Kera took the weight gain incredibly hard, and over time became increasingly obsessive about what she ate. Kera developed a very unhealthy body image and relationship with food because she was convinced that everything she ate added fat or extra pounds – she lost weight dramatically.
After her third son was born Kera knew she needed to pursue healthier options for controlling her weight. At 35 she decided that she wanted to run, so she joined forces with her sister and completed a 5K and was in love. Running made her feel empowered and gave her the validation that she craved. Unfortunately, she suffered a set-back and injured her knee. Running was no longer an option. It was at that time that her husband (who she credits as her biggest supporter) bought her a Fitness RX for Women® magazine where she found a 12-week training plan. Kera admits she stared at this magazine for quite some time before acting, but eventually made the decision to join Club W and give it a try. She has been a member for over a year now and loves it because of the awesome drop-in childcare, the laid back atmosphere, friendly vibes and diversity.
Once Kera developed an exercise routine she was hooked, but her issues revolving around food still existed. Coming to the realization that weight training goes hand in hand with eating healthily and consistently was difficult at first. Yet, once Kera started to see results, she also began to relax more – making food less of an issue. Since she started weight training at Club W, she has gained 12 pounds, and would like to gain 10 more.
Kera’s must-haves are chicken, almonds, and avocado and she says she cannot live without the survival snack of Greek yogurt, protein powder and peanut butter. For those interested in beginning an exercise routine, Kera offers these 5 tips:
1). Keep going- it takes time to see results.
2). Eat healthy – that’s the key!
3). Setbacks can be overcome.
4). Push yourself; do something that is out of your comfort zone.
5). Educate yourself – get new exercises or tips and try them!
As you all now know, Kera is a rock star – but one with a journey that serves to continually inspire us all. Congratulations to one inspirational woman for being the best she can be – not only for herself, but her children and husband as well!